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15 reasons we’re thankful to be based in Philly in 2018

clockwise from left: Hop Along | photo by John Vettese // Serious Rap Shit | photo by Kate Devlin | courtesy of the podcast // Uncle Bobbie’s | photo by John Vettese // Keyon Harrold at South | photo by John Vettese

It’s our eighth year covering the wild and wonderful world of the Philadelphia music community here at The Key, and we can’t think of any place in the world we’d rather be doing this. Some of the best artists in the world call this city home. Some of the most forward-thinking promoters give them places to play on the regular. And beyond music, the city gives us plenty of things to look forward to seeing and experiencing every day. This Thanksgiving, we give you a rundown of reasons why we’re thankful to be in Philly in 2018. Continue reading →

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Bob Dylan, Kurt Vile and Amos Lee are on the initial lineup for The Met Philly

Bob Dylan | photo by John Vettese for WXPN // Kurt Vile | photo by Noah Silvestry for WXPN // Amos Lee | photo by Wendy McCardle for WXPN

Singer-songwriter icon Bob Dylan will be the first artist to take the stage at the newly renovated venue The Met Philly, which opens on December 3rd. The initial lineup was announced this afternoon in a press conference from promoters Live Nation, and it also features Philly son Kurt Vile playing his hometown album release for his new Bottle It In LP on December 29th, and fellow hometown hero Amos Lee headlining on April 6, 2019.

The initial run of shows also includes Toto tribute band Weezer headlining on December 12th, cerebral Bucks County alt-popsters Ween on December 13th, violinist Lindsey Stirling on December 18th, and Germantown rapper PnB Rock on December 28th. Continue reading →

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Meek Mill returns to The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon to discuss reform of the criminal justice system

Meek Mill at Made In America | photo by John Vettese for WXPN

In August of 2017, Meek Mill got arrested for reckless endangerment, violating his parole, and was taken into police custody after appearing on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon hours before. On Tuesday night, the North Philly icon returned to the late-night talk show as both the musical and special guest. Continue reading →

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Meek Mill reigns, Janelle Monae dazzles, Orion Sun and Armani White rep Philly at Made In America Day One

Meek Mill at Made In America | photo by John Vettese for WXPN

Grey skies hugged the city of Philadelphia earlier in the day before the sun peeked out from the clouds, sending relief to everyone at Made in America who was geared up for the possibility of rain. From there, the Benjamin Franklin Parkway was flooded with people from all walks of life, ready to dance and party ’til dusk. From amazing early sets by local artists Armani White and Orion Sun, to incredible performances from Sabrina Claudio and Saba, a massive throw-down from Janelle Monae and a tremendous homecoming from rapper Meek Mill, the first day of the festival was a blast. Continue reading →

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KUR announces his return with new single “I’m Back” and it’s brewing up a storm

KUR | photo by John Vettese for WXPN
KUR | photo by John Vettese for WXPN

The world first got a taste of local rapper KUR when he got a shout out from Philly icon Meek Mill via Twitter in 2014. Later on, KUR collaborated with Meek for his 2017 mixtape 180 on the track “How It Never Was.” Along with that, KUR worked with fellow 215 talent PnB Rock on his 2018 single “No Shine.” Well-known in the community, KUR’s music and aesthetic truly does embody the streets of Philly. With his rapid-fire delivery and ruthless lyrics, he has made it a point that he isn’t here to play games. Continue reading →

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Meek Mill jumps back in with his surprise new EP Legends Of The Summer

Meek Mill
Meek Mill | Photo by Rachel Del Sordo for WXPN | racheldelsordophotography.com

Since his release from prison in April, Meek Mill has been at work. Just two weeks ago, Philly rapper debuted his single “Stay Woke”, featuring Miguel, on the BET Awards and gave an incredibly powerful performance focused on the topics of police brutality and prison reform issues. Today, Meek released a quick four-track EP titled Legends Of The Summer with features from Swizz Beatz, Jeremih, PnB Rock, Jahlil Beats, and Miguel. Continue reading →

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Firefly On The Fly: Saturday shines with The Killers, Eminem, Lil Wayne, Lucy Dacus, Alex Lahey and more

The Killers | Photo by John Vettese for WXPN

Saturday is always the longest haul of Firefly weekend, and we took in a huge range of music today. Pop rock four-piece The Aces started us off on the Lawn Stage, with Philly singer-songwriter Ben O’Neill not far behind in the coffeehouse. A doubleheader of Australian rock featuring Middle Kids and Alex Lahey lifted up our afternoon.

Philly rockers Foxtrot and the Get Down performed a rare acoustic set, something they should get in the habit of doing — these songs sound like they were written to be performed in this intimate, elegant way. Continue reading →

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Eminem, Kendrick Lamar, Arctic Monkeys, The Killers, SZA, Alt-J and more will play Firefly 2018

Kendrick Lamar | via Billboard.com

The seventh annual Firefly Music Festival in Dover, Delaware will feature acclaimed stars of rap and rock, with Eminem, Kendrick Lamar, Arctic Monkeys and The Killers in the headlining slots.

The Detroit rapper, otherwise known as Marshall Mathers, released his ninth studio album Revival in 2017, and is making his Firefly debut. Compton’s Lamar is on his second Firefly slot on the strength of last year’s universally praised DAMN. LP – he first appeared in 2013, following good kid, m.A.A.d city. Arctic Monkeys and Killers are returning on players too, having played in 2014 and 2015, respectively. For the former, it’s their first concert in three years (per Pitchfork) and they have an album on the way in 2018 as well.
Continue reading →

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From Noname to Pharrell, the 10th Annual Roots Picnic brings a star studded day to Festival Pier

The Roots and Pharrell at The Roots Picnic | Photo by John Vettese for WXPN

This past weekend marked the 10th Anniversary of The Roots Picnic. Over the past decade, Black Thought, Questlove and the rest of the legendary Roots Crew have been curating one of the city’s biggest concerts which, since 2007, has featured acts such as A$AP Rocky, Erykah Badu, Santigold, DMX, and Anderson Paak just to name a few.

This year’s line up brought out Michael Kiwanuka, Thundercat, Kimbra, and PnB Rock for excellent performances with headlining sets from Solange and Pharrell, the latter of whom was backed by The Roots. Earlier in the day, Black Thought collaborated with DJ/producer J Period on a live mixtape, during which he brought out original Roots keyboard player Scott Storch, as well as Queensbridge hip-hop legends Mobb Deep. Rapper Lil Wayne was slated to play the festival but was removed from the lineup due to an undisclosed medical emergency. Despite that being a bit of a damper, an estimated crowd of 10,000 festivalgoers enjoyed the day-long show. Continue reading →